Shareholders halt pay rise for HSBC chief executive

Banking giant HSBC has complied with shareholder objection, withdrawing plans to raise chief executive Michael Geoghegan’s base salary from £1.07m in 2008 to £1.4m in 2010.

An HSBC spokesperson defended the bank’s pay plans, stating that no UK-based executives took bonuses last year and that there have been very few pay raises in the last three years.

Shareholders told the bank the pay rise conflicted with trends to mitigate big pay-outs during the financial crisis.

HSBC’s retreat occurred days after the chief executives of Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group waived their right to annual bonuses.

An HSBC spokesperson, said: “It is not unusual to update shareholders on the subject of remuneration. The Financial Services Authority has confirmed the bank’s policy is fully compliant with its Remuneration Code. The independent remuneration committee met this week to conclude HSBC’s 2009 compensation arrangements.

“HSBC has an excellent record of transparency, including being one of very few banks to publish its remuneration report on results day. HSBC has not taken any taxpayer money and we have been profitable, generated capital, paid dividends and very much remained open for business throughout the crisis.”

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